Letters: There’s no fire power at USC

Clay Helton
USC head coach Clay Helton prepares to take his team on to the field at the Coliseum Saturday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Though I agree with most all of the shortcomings of USC football mentioned in Bill Plaschke’s column on USC football, he’s being shortsighted. USC needed to retain Clay Helton for another year. Obviously not because he’s a innovative, dynamic, inspiring coach, but simply because there are much larger university-wide problems to solve first.

In a perfect world, USC’s biggest issue would be their underachieving football team and uninspiring coach. But, handing Helton a multi-million dollar buyout check in the wake of the Tyndall scandal would cost the university so much more in the court of public opinion.

Craig Kojima

Culver City



Oblivious to the escalating mediocrity of the football program, Lynn Swann neither thought about or bothered to look for a new head coach. There is no good football reason to have kept Clay Helton. Teams don’t suddenly go bad. This was coming. The lack of talent and depth on the field (recruiting) and the lack of coaching (discipline & scheme) could’ve been seen by a blind man. But ol’ Swannie thinks this team is close. He’s right. This team is close to being an afterthought.

If this team couldn’t fill the Coliseum against an undefeated Notre Dame team, can you imagine how empty the place will be against Fresno State?

Geno Apicella




Plaschke said, “The USC football team is the university’s greatest and most important marketing tool/” I wonder how the decades of graduates that have been/are excellent doctors, dentists, attorneys, teachers/professors, CEOs/high level management, and public servants among others would agree with that assessment. Shame on you, Bill. A quality university is so much more than its football team that typically does not send 100% on to a next level of success. I don’t recall any former Trojan doing research on a cure for cancer.

Marcel Viens

Long Beach


Bill Plaschke continues to show his complete lack of understanding of college football and USC. One bad season after two great ones does not define either Helton or Swann.

Brian Adams




Michael Pittman Jr. and J.T. Daniels showed character beyond their years in support of Coach Helton. Coach Helton is a teacher of young men and if nothing else has made young men of good character. I am sure this weighed on Lynn Swann in his decision to keep Coach Clay.The late Jess Hill had the same issues facing him in 1961.He kept a less than popular coach with a 4-5-1 record.The coach in question was John Mc Kay.

E.S. King



Quote from Clay Helton:

“We’ve got a big task ahead, and the changes will be made from a culture standpoint, a discipline standpoint, a personnel standpoint and a staff standpoint if needed. And that’s my job. We’ll put it all together and get moving.”


That’s been your job for the past three years. And now you’re stating your task?

Plato Chamis

Van Nuys


Dear Lynn Swann,

Thank you for your early Christmas present of keeping Clay Helton as USC’s football coach. He is the “gift that keeps on giving” and will surely bring joy and good cheer to all the good boys and girls on your football schedule in the coming year.

Your friends in the Pac-12 and Notre Dame.

John Redmond

San Dimas


As a third-generation Trojan, I am a pained and displeased as anyone can be regarding this year’s performance of the football team. Unfortunately, I have been embarrassed by the “fans” who have yelled at Clay Helton on the field to quit and paid for a plane pulling a banner espousing Helton’s firing. Helton might not be the guy to continue coaching at USC, but he certainly is not deserving of the indignities for which he has endured.

Tracy Taft



Thank you to the L.A. Times.

In one day you helped show the two worlds living side by side here in L.A. Bill Plaschke runs around like Chicken Little crying that by keeping Helton USC can’t get “flashy recruits,” that well-heeled donors won’t fund the renovations to the Coliseum, and this one decision jeopardizes the “success of the entire university.” Meanwhile on page one the same day, Steve Lopez writes about half a million children in the same town that don’t have enough to eat, a reliable place to sleep or the resources to ensure that they get some sort of education even if they aren’t D1 athletes.

Maybe everyone needs to just take a step back and rethink things.

Jeff Heister



It seems as if every article about the USC football program holds up Pete Carroll as the standard by which USC coaches should be measured. However, for some reason none of them mention he was a cheater who fled the program as soon as knowledge of his cheating started coming to light. Please post a notice on the wall that all future articles that are going to mention Carroll need to include this information as well — and then let people decide whether that is the way they want the program to go.

John Snyder

Newbury Park


With the retention of Dave Roberts the Dodgers are telling us they are very satisfied to be second best. With the retention of Clay Helton the Trojans are telling us they are very satisfied to be mediocre with an occasional humiliation on national television.

So I’ve come to the conclusion if they don’t care, why should the fans?

Craig Poletti

San Dimas

And then there’s Chip

Dylan Hernandez’s article about Chip Kelly’s personality was way off base.

Great coaches don’t need to be charismatic, e.g., Vince Lombardi, Woody Hayes. They just need to coach football. The very impressive improvement that the Bruins exhibited in their last few games demonstrates that they have a good coach. Kelly took a group of kids, most of whom were recruited by the inept Jim Mora, and taught them football. Not only did he teach them good football, he taught them attitudes of hard work and perseverance. The Bruins demonstrated the results of Kelly’s teaching in their valiant effort against Stanford. The team clearly loves and respects their coach.

Connie Giguere

Palos Verdes Peninsula

Horse play

Firing Michael Wrona is a grotesque and senseless piece of injustice. Tim Ritvo wanted bettors to be more aware of horses’ past performances and that’s exactly what Wrona was doing with his calls, adding footnotes and highlights of interest, bringing race calling to another level to draw newcomers and those with less knowledge of the sport at a time when it’s sorely needed. Too bad and sad that Santa Anita could not see this.

Antoinette G. Lane

San Pedro

What a match

Now that we’ve had Phil vs. Tiger, what’s next? Willie Mays vs. Hank Aaron in Home Run Derby?

Edward A. Ruttenberg

Rancho Palos Verdes


I was sorry to hear about all the folks who couldn’t see this historic match but I’m happy to report that my view from the Tap Room at Pebble Beach was awesome.

Ken Keller


Hot stove

I was sad to read the other day that the Dodgers released left-hander Zac Rosscup. Rosscup provided two of the most amazing moments of the Dodgers’ 2018 season. The first was on Aug. 19 when he threw the 93rd immaculate inning in baseball history against the Mariners, striking out the side on nine pitches. The other was the next day when the Dodgers placed Rosscup on the disabled list with a “calf strain.” That leg must have been killing him as he was blowing away the Mariners’ hitters.

Bob Antonoplis

La Cañada


Now that betting on baseball is on the horizon, I for one cannot wait to gamble on such exciting moves such as how many double-switches Dave Roberts deploys, how long will he let his starting pitchers go and in what inning does he run out of position players. In regard to where the cash-rich Dodgers position themselves with the luxury tax threshold, I’ll bet the Unders.

Allan Kandel

Los Angeles


News item: Dodgers hire an analytics guy to be their hitting coach.

Reaction: Did we not learn from those lessons back in October?

Mark J. Featherstone

Windsor Hills

Mr. Clutch’s cargo

Please don’t tell me that our very own Laker Jerry West created a Frankenstein monster in Golden State, and now he’s back in the laboratory with the Clippers!  

David Waldowski

Laguna Woods


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